layers of filth

this poem is
not about hands

not about how
you hold them

it is about pain
and suffering and
about layers of filth

imagine, for a moment,
a river that
never meets the sea

it dries up
in the desert where
fish skeletons line
its floor

i have walked this river,
i know its path

i have been this river
i have been this river

i know he is using and i
know he is sick and
when i look at him,
i see my father and
for me, that is enough

it is enough to see a person
it is enough to be a river
that dries up

here, at the headwaters,
where we find ourselves
with plenty,

do we dare look downstream?
do we dare acknowledge the

my nieces and nephews are
there, somewhere

they are asking us why
we walked the dried up river bed
without crying enough tears
to fill it back up
for them?


Another Intruder in Hocking Hills


the face of the rock
that houses the caves
is the kind of irresistible green
that makes my hands tingle
and my mouth water
until my body cannot dull its hunger any more
and I reach out greedily to touch it;

it is as cool as I expected
but I am surprised to find it is also

I sink my hands in and wonder
who else before me
has ached to return the
silence to the hills



On Climate Change

they say there are trees older than mountains –
I would like to know them
I would like to ask how it felt to be unknown

I used to make fairy houses out of pine cones
and twigs that fell from the dogwood I would climb
with grass-thatched roofs
and dandelion fences;
and in the morning they were sparkling with dew,
called fairy dust,
that covered my wet feet
as I crept close in the silent morning
to catch a glimpse of something…
but they were gone,
sometimes leaving just a trail of new
mushrooms in their wake.

now, I sit in an office barefoot
and remember the time that a moth against the
dirty window in lamplight
looked like a fairy
without a proper pine cone home.
I still want to know the redwoods
the douglas firs and the sequoias
but I imagine the ancient General Sherman,
unfairly named,
would stand tall and stoic
as he recounted the danger he has seen
from men and women
who grow up
to no longer care
for fairies.